There are time when I have felt uncomfortable in being too direct on certain subjects.
In my speech and in my writing, I try to deal with controversial issues in much the same way as I would hold a fragile drinking glass. If you drop a fragile drinking glass, you are more likely cut yourself then if it was a tough ceramic dish.
When you discuss controversial subjects, people are more likely to be offended and hurt. Of course the point is not to hurt or offend anyone. So why would you?
When we think of Jesus, there are any number of mental pictures that come to mind. Jesus feeding five thousand people. Jesus healing people. Jesus raising the dead. Jesus could preach for hours and people would forget about eating. Jesus dying on the cross.
However good your intentions, it is inevitable that you are going to offend someone...especially if they have either had their minds made up, or made up their minds themselves about something. Jesus says in Mathew 10:43 “Do not think that I have come to send peace on the earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.”
Jesus knew that there would be people who would oppose Him and His gospel. And of course there would be people who would refuse to respond in sentiment or action to the principles of the gospel simply because it would, in their eyes, cut across some insignificant (cherished) sin.
If you have read the writings of the apostle Paul in the New Testament, there are numerous instances where people went to great lengths regardless of their own comfort to thwart this Apostle's ministry. Telling people the good news can cause them to exert all their effort in order to neutralize our message so that they do not have to hear anything that confronts either directly or indirectly their sins (Acts 17:13 Acts 23:12-13) .
So do we tell the good news successfully by making concessions on how we portray the gospel? Do we decide that we must downplay some aspects of the Christian life so as to not appear so ideologically different from society...so that we do not stick out like the proverbial sore thumb? If we were to gauge our answer by what the world does, then we would strive to look like everyone else. But then, the power of true Christianity, evidenced in the life of Christ would lose it's mighty influence.
Copy cats do not inspire true conviction. Dignity and truth must and can be guarded at the same time! We do not want to create conflict or lower the standards. The name we claim, Christians, would profess one thing while our efforts to marginalize our beliefs to avoid conflict would profess something else.
This is a time for holy courage...for considerate yet unswerving commitment to say that day is day and night is night. I ask that intelligent readers draw their conclusions after they have finished reading this.
This is an appeal to reason and tactful yet unswerving courage regarding the gospel in this day, age and state of society regarding homosexuality and the church. There are great pressures and changes in society today that have developed both gradually and suddenly at the same time.
In the Great Commission found in Mathew 28:19-20, Jesus says...
”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.”
So we have the Great Commission in front of us. How are we to reconcile this in reaching the world? The church is facing an encroachment from the world.
Christians are often told that to gain converts, we can only reach them in worldly ways...in a language they can understand. This leads us to consider what Jesus did.
If we were to put it in modern language, Jesus would hang out with people with the obvious intent of benefiting them, and when He had gained their trust, He would say to them, “follow me.” And to coin a line from a well known hymn, 'we would be like Jesus' is fitting for how we should relate to everyone.
We can be considerate and kind while in no way compromising the truth. In our striving to be considerate, we must not sanction a course of action which we know is not Biblical. We must not confuse being considerate with conceding our convictions which are based on the Bible.
Can worldly views and methods on conversion really harmonize with the true conversion affected by God on the soul? Can we really take our marching orders from just anyone rather than the Source of our faith?
If we are to be truly successful as soul winners we cannot take one word of worldly advice seriously.
This is not a persecution of those who have same sex partners. It is a word to soul winners and aspiring soul winners. Do we make concessions to get converts? That is not was Jesus did. Conviction and compromise can never go together. This is an appeal to keep the standard high, not keep people out of the church.
About ten years ago, the average response to someone wanting to be married to a same-sex partner recognized by or in a church or a state would have drawn scorn, amused looks and disgust. Today, there has been a tremendous attempt to coerce society to believe that the vast majority approves of homosexual marriage whether it is true or not. However, if people dissent in public, they are stereotyped as homophobic. This is a propaganda tool. The goal of this propaganda is to create a 'them vs. us' mentality and insert the assumption in society that something is wrong with a person who questions homosexuality. And as far as society at large is concerned, this has been swallowed hook, line and sinker.
For those of us who do not sanction same sex marriage and those who do... regardless of how long it has been accepted by society, if we are truly mature, we can agree to disagree agreeably. And we can be kind and considerate of people without agreeing with or condoning what they do.
Changing the definition of marriage is something that people are trying to do. But marriage was invented by God. As such, it is His prerogative alone to decide what the word means, not people. The definition is apparent in Ephesians 5:31 and Genesis 2:24.
In a true or false scenario, the rationale today is...if you disagree with someone's alternate sexual preference or society's changing (false) view on the definition of marriage, you must hate homosexuals. This sentiment is not universal, but it has become the stereotype...the default assumption.
The answer is false. While He loves us, God hates our sins. And while efforts to change the definition of marriage and the moral decay of society may be saddening to us, this does not mean that we do not love those who are very much a part of society in sentiment and action. The rationale is that if you disagree with someone's sexual preference in practice or same sex marriage, you are homophobic. This is false. This is a form of clever propaganda and labeling.
If you can successfully label someone as homophobic, then you can portray the victim to the majority as something they are not, and their word on the matter would not mean much. The majority is not always right. The perception of the majority is based on an illusion that does not agree with the actual sentiments of the victim.
The stereotype of today is that if someone has a same sex partner, all Christians categorically stigmatize them as bound for hell. The truth is that anyone, Christian or not, who refuses to be separated from their sin will be destroyed when sin is destroyed. God's goal is to separate people from their sins, so that He can destroy the sin and save the person.
What Does The Bible Say?
So do Christians really have the nerve to call homosexuality sin? The real question is not if Christians have the gall or courage to make this claim, but if the Bible does call homosexuality sin. What does the Bible say?
The Bible is very plain on this point and there are a number of references to homosexuality. Genesis 19:9-11 Leviticus 18:22 Judges 19:22-25 Romans 1:26-28. The subsequent intent here is not to beat someone over the head with the Bible or to self righteously proclaim, “See, I was right!” Our demeanor should be calm, mild mannered, courteous and considerate. We can do this while pointing out...
”The Bible calls homosexuality sin. God loves you and He asks you to let Him change you to the extent of no longer desiring to be homosexual.”
Their dignity should remain intact, and this can be done without reneging on what the Bible says or making concessions in our faith.
In Genesis 19 God destroyed whole cities because of homosexuality. In the context of Genesis ch. 19, the intent of the homosexuals mentioned was to rape their intended victims. No mercy. No compassion. No pity. Like robots programmed for selfish lust. While not all homosexuals are like this, the Bible does designate homosexuality as sin.
The rationale today is that people were born homosexuals and that they cannot change. This claim is false.
The media is quick to point this out, yet it's hypocrisy is glaring. For instance, if a youngster wants to be an astronaut, the word is...”Yeah, you can do it! Reach for the stars! (and children should be encouraged to set their sights high) and yet if a youngster or anyone else desires to be straight even though they may have unwanted homosexual tendencies, the response to predictable. “You were born a homosexual and cannot change.”
Society at large seems to be in the dark about this double standard practiced so smoothly by the media. The rational is that people are born homosexuals. This claim is false. Being a homosexual is a choice, not something people were born with as if they were a pre-programmed robot.
God gave men and women the power of choice! There is a great deal of information on the internet regarding homosexuality being a choice. Rather than drown in it all, it is prudent to suggest that those who are inclined, research it for whatever position they hold. Firsthand information is usually more convincing. It is interesting to observe the claim homosexuality is not a choice, but if that is the case, do people have a choice about anything at all? As to information on the internet, the following link is a good place to start.
An article posted on orthodoxy today (http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/identical-twin-studies-prove-homosexuality-is-not-genetic/) and available on many other websites has some interesting information about homosexuality not being genetic.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where the author shares his testimony how the Lord gave him freedom from homosexual thoughts he experienced when he was younger.
B. Stone lives in South Korea and teaches EFL. His hobbies include cooking, writing, traveling and music on the guitar and piano. He is happily married.